Autumn begins in the night. Now the days, often as not, are still summery, if more bearably so. The midday sun is not perceptibly lower in the sky.
But the sun has, somehow, gotten faster. And with night settling in at dinner time and burrowing deeper, it is in the hours of darkness that summer literally runs out of time.
In the cocoon of the home, in the unaccustomed silence lately filled by the air-conditioner, the air flowing in feels, smells, tastes different — not just because it is cooler, but also because it is different air, hailing from a different part of the planet. Sultry summer nights are made of stiflingly hot air from Southwestern deserts simmered with emanations from the Gulf of Mexico into a thick gumbo. But now the jet stream, the ever-flowing border zone between hot and cold air masses, is making its tentative, give-and-take pilgrimage southward, and on cool nights, the air is fresh from the pine forests of Canada.